Both Maria Sharapova and Alexa Glatch will use a measuring stick on Wednesday when they face each other on the grasscourts at the WTA Tour AEGON Classic in Birmingham, England, as each looks to further their 2009 progression after various stops and starts.
Sharapova is appearing in only her third event of the year after a difficult return from shoulder surgery in 2008. The former world No. 1 Wimbledon champ is unseeded in Birmingham, and hopes the grasscourt season will further her comeback, riding the wave of an unexpected quarterfinal effort at the French Open.
“I have tremendous memories from here,” said Sharapova of the Birmingham event. “It seems that the fans have grown up with me here as I have played here since I was younger. That’s one of the reasons why I keep coming back.”
Glatch is quickly rising into the “next American to watch” (and there aren’t many) on the women’s side after a stunning Fed Cup debut where she notched two singles victories to propel the U.S. team to a 3-2 victory over the Czech Republic, putting the U.S. in the Fed Cup final.
In February of this year Glatch was still playing ITF-level “Futures” events, winning the ITF/Laguna Nigel (Calif.) title. At Indian Wells in March she reached the second round, defeating No. 29 seed Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain.
It will be a first-time meeting between the 19-year-old Glatch and the accomplished 22-year-old Russian.
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